What you need to know about Passivhaus (Passive House)

May 25, 2016

Quickly becoming a word that is heard as often as hello in some cities, Passive House has found its way into the US and its range of building types.  Having recently been featured in the New York Times, passive building has also gained substantial media traction from the CornellTech residential tower on Roosevelt Island in New York, NY -- the first high-rise tower to use the standard.

So what is Passive House


According to its website, passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. “Maximize your gains, minimize your losses” summarize the approach. To that end, a passive building is designed and built in accordance with these five building-science principles: 

  • It employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
  • The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
  • It employes high-performance windows (typically triple-paned) and doors
  • It uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system. 
  • Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun's energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.

Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies--from single-family homes to apartment building to offices and skyscrapers. 

Vidaris, always staying at the forefront of the industry with sustainable technology, has recognized the growing audience and their desire for this method of building, and has in-turn invested in two of its team members to become Certified Passive House Consultants (CPHCs).  Andrew Graceffa and Emma Stanley allow Vidaris to practice its sustainability and energy efficiency services for passive buildings in Massachusetts and New York.



Hannah Hutchison

Written by Hannah Hutchison

Marketing Coordinator